This book has received a bad press within the hobby. I can’t argue with its detractors; there are egregious errors of pen identification and the information given about some pens is wrong. Also, the text from one page to another doesn’t follow on in a couple of instances, which I assume is a layout issue.
Nonetheless, I like this book. It takes a more discursive form than other fountain pen books. It stands back from the minutiae of the subject and comes to conclusions of its own. It’s profusely and beautifully illustrated, with many examples of pens in art that you won’t see elsewhere. Lots of advertising posters are illustrated too, though sadly few of them are dated. Still, it’s good to see them and quite a few are unique to this book.
There are, I think, around a hundred pages of individual pens from the beginning to the present day. The selection is eccentric and the information unreliable in this section, making it useless as a reference. The illustrations here, as elsewhere, are excellent.
I don’t regard this book as an essential for the pen enthusiast, but it is entertaining and may give the reader pause for thought. Priced at £29.40 new, it isn’t worth the money, but it often appears second-hand for very much less. If you get it cheap enough, I think you may well enjoy it, despite all its faults.